Samsung wants to settle EU antitrust case over Apple to sidestep $17.5B fine

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The European Union six months ago launched a formal investigation into a potential breach of EU antitrust rules by Samsung. The antitrust investigation focused on the South Korean conglomerate’s handling of industry-essential patents that EU regulators insist should be licensed to others on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

The investigation determined that Samsung was abusing its patent portfolio by seeking high royalties it knew didn’t make business sense, just so it could later assert those patents against rivals such as Apple. ”Samsung has been involved in settlement discussions for several months now,” an unnamed source told Reuters on Tuesday. “Samsung wants to settle”…

According to Reuters:

Samsung Electronics is in preliminary talks with the EU regulator to settle charges it abused its market position by barring arch rival Apple from using an essential mobile phone patent, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Samsung in 2011 illegally attempted to seek a sales ban on Apple’s iPhone and iPad in Europe, prompting EU regulators to take a closer look at how the company was attempting to assert essential patents for the European Telecommunications Standardization Institute’s 3G UMTS standard.

The Galaxy maker has plenty of reasons to settle this case: if it doesn’t, EU regulators could easily slap it with a whopping $17.3 billion fine. Settling, Reuters notes, would enable Samsung to avoid being fined or found of wrongdoing.